Fears of Zika Could Put a Chill on Travel Plans

The mosquito-borne Zika virus is becoming a factor in many Americans’ travel plans, according to a new survey.

Travel agency Harbinger – which specializes in marketing to women – said that 80% of women surveyed said they will avoid travel to Zika-infected regions this winter.

Young women (aged 18-34) are particularly likely to alter their plans, citing fears of the disease.

Are they over-reacting to media hype about Zika, or are the dangers posed by the virus worthy of concern?

Harbinger said that education is needed to assist concerned travelers in separating hype from reality where Zika is concerned.

According to the U.S. CDC, there have been 82 travel-associated Zika virus disease cases reported as of February 17, 2016.

CDC said that around 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache.

The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.

So, there are the facts. Do these statistics warrant travel plan changes, or avoidance of certain Zika-prone destinations?

Perhaps they do, but keep in mind that there are still hundreds of nasty bugs we can catch while traveling. Zika is just one, (relatively minor) health concern among many facing travelers.

CDC points out that Zika-infected people usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

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